Governor Profiles

Mandy Howarth

Chair

Having been born in the south of England I moved to live and work in Lancashire in 1975. I knew Preston well as my father grew up here and my grandmother lived just off Watling Street Road. Before I retired in 2011, I worked in schools across Lancashire as a teacher and latterly on a consultancy basis for LCC on the Healthy Schools initiative. I was keen to become a School Governor to maintain my contact with schools and young people and use some of my experience to help schools provide the best opportunities possible for all pupils. I am proud to have been elected to the role of Chair of the Governing Body and enjoy the role tremendously. I love to visit Acorns and see the wonderful work that goes on!

Anne Manley

Vice Chair

I have been a teacher for 25 years, originally teaching within primary schools. I have been a special educational needs co-ordinator, head of Key Stage 1 and Early years and a Deputy Head. I am currently a teacher of the visually impaired and a teacher of the hearing impaired. I have had a connection with the Acorns school since 2003 when I 1st visited as a specialist teacher to assess the pupils and provide advice for those with sensory loss. I have always felt a strong connection with the welcoming atmosphere at school and wanted to become a closer part of the team. I became a governor in 2017 and enjoy this new role. In my personal life, I have two older children who continue to take up a significant amount of time. I love to be outdoors and enjoy gardening.

Deborah Hall

My son, Mason, has attended Acorns School since the age of two. I have always found it to be a caring and supportive school and would like to contribute to the future decision making to ensure that the parent’s perspective is heard. Being a working mum of three boys, I have a good understanding of the demands and pressures parents and carers face on a day to day basis and I feel this puts me in a good position to be able to represent our experiences effectively. I have lived and worked in the local area for over 25 years. This gives me a strong interest in the school and local community and a commitment to ensuring the best possible outcomes for children.

Sean Carlisle

I have lived in Preston all my life and work full time for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. I came across Acorns in 2010 when we were looking for a special needs school for our daughter to attend. We visited several schools but Acorns stood out from the rest because of the warm welcome and time they gave us. I was delighted and honoured when in 2012 I became a Parent Governor.

Shaun Jukes

Hi, my name is Shaun Jukes and I am the Headteacher of Sir Tom Finney Community High School, which is the school most Acorns pupils move to for their secondary education. I have been a governor at Acorns school for some time and in a reciprocal arrangement the Headteacher of Acorns is on our Governing Body.  Being a governor at Acorns is most beneficial to being able to keep abreast of educational developments within the Early Years and Primary sector and it supports close collaboration and transition planning between the two schools.  Outside of school my leisure time is divided between home, walking our two spaniels and running both short and long distance races.

Dr Rukhsana Ahmed

I worked as a Consultant Community Paediatrician in Preston, specialising in Paediatric Neuro-disability and Autism. I recently retired after 31 years in the NHS. I have two sons and one granddaughter and enjoy gardening and cooking.

Christian Worsley

I am on the teaching staff at Acorns Primary School and I currently teach Oak who are a Year 6 class. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of working with pupils to help them develop academically, physically, and socially, and I am lucky to have a great team of TAs to help the children achieve their goals.  In my twenty years in teaching, I have taught secondary MFL, and both mainstream and SEN primary; I also spent a year teaching English in France to pupils in the secondary and tertiary phases, which gave me much insight into how children learn in another country.  Throughout my career, I have enjoyed leading different whole-school or cohort projects, such as the International School Award, and I have taken on a variety of middle management roles. I have also led and been involved in many local, national and international school visits. These range from maths-focused trips to the local shops, to language exchanges and Duke of Edinburgh expedition work.  My current role is definitely my favourite. In addition to working with my Year 6 pupils, I am the school’s EAL, humanities and MFL Coordinator; I also support the headteacher with EVC duties. I am pleased to be on the Governance Board of the school, and my particular strengths lie in the curriculum.  In my free time I enjoy mountain walking, cycling, cinema and reading. 

Emma Lowe

Mummy to amazing boys and a daughter, who are my world!  I have 2 little boys who attend Acorns School, twins aged 4. My boys are in Seedlings class and are cared for by wonderful staff.  I feel being a mummy to two little boys with additional needs will help me understand what's needed within the school. I have a good heart and always believe in "Treating people how I would like to be treated" Believing in kindness and being helpful in any way possible. We belong!  I fully understand the busy lifestyle we lead as SEN parents and the fight we always have for our children, simply to get what they need in life.  As a parent myself I have had my ups and downs, I've had tears and I've had laughter, but most of all I've had sheer joy watching the milestones our children take.  I feel my part as a governor will be to help not only my own children but all the children in the school to become the best they possibly can, and to learn life skills in the fabulous school we are blessed to be part of. I feel I can be the voice for us parents and  for our children and be totally understanding........as well as support/fight for what's needed to give our children the best start in life!  I love being a mummy and want the best for our children and I'm willing to give my best to support the school with all they do. 

Pav Akhtar

My professional career started in journalism before I joined the UK civil service in the Department for Education. Since then, the bulk of my career has been spent working in employment and equality law. I care about issues of health; education, and equality. I am a governor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and was recently elected a Preston City councillor for Plungington. I applied to become a governor at Acorns Primary School because I am the uncle of a child with learning disability and am passionate about the rights of children with SEN to get the best educational offer from schools to meet young peoples’ needs. I hope that my presence on the Acorns Primary School Governing Body adds to the existing depth of experience, and serves to strengthen ties between the ambitious and committed staff, who are well-led by the headteacher, and the wider community.

Kerri Johnson

Hi, my name is Kerri Johnson, I have lived in Preston all my life. I currently work in the Social Housing Sector supporting residents and colleagues with Welfare Reform Changes. I have a social conscious and a real passion to help people live their best lives. I am the parent of Jude who attends Acorns. Having a child with extra needs has taught me that communication is much more than words, you have to listen with your eyes to understand the needs of others. I have a passion to help support others on their special need parenting journey. Being a Parent Governor enables me to make a difference to support the school to be the best but most importantly provides a voice for the families that have children at the school. I want to make a difference and believe in Acorns Values, Individually we grow, together we thrive. I was honoured to be made Parent Governor in 2020.

Barry Probin

I worked in education until my retirement in 2011 and am currently a governor of 3 schools, one for more than 40 years, and a Parish Councillor for a similar length of time. I have had a long association with Acorns since its very early days as The Elms School when it was based on Cromwell Road and have had the privilege of watching it develop into the centre of excellence that it is today. It is again a privilege to be able to maintain my association with the school as a governor and hope that I can use my experience to add, in some small measure, to the ongoing life of a wonderful place. My professional background was as an Assistant Principal Educational Psychologist and manager of the Educational Psychology Service, the SEN Assessment Service, and, latterly, the Children with Disabilities Social Work team in the South of Lancashire.

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